Sunday, September 26, 2010


We have lots of junipers on our property, including this great big one right near the house. Unfortunately they are prone to getting infested with mistletoe, which is a parasitic plant. If not removed, it can eventually kill a tree.

There's been a giant clump of mistletoe high up in this tree that we just hadn't gotten around to dealing with. Today, with some help from our neighbors Mike and Karen Sanford, that mistletoe is history!

Here's the Before picture. The dark green stuff is the mistletoe.

Here's the After picture. Much better! To the right is a close-up of the invader. We liberated some other trees as well.

Awhile back I had written a poem about the mistletoe in the tree pictured above. This seems to be a good time to share it!


There it is, high in the old juniper:
a plump green mound, strangling the trunk.
It will be a slow ebb, thanks to this parasitic
body-snatcher, the same one we kiss under
at Christmas. No wonder we have such grief.
One partner clings to the death, and longer—
not in love, but foreclosure. A strange aphrodisiac
to claim such power, guilty of murder by possession—
even stranger, to double as the Golden Bough,
brought down to Earth by lightning.
Like most things, the green blob blurs
good and bad, stoking heartache.
Mistletoe seems to say, if it feels good,
do it, just don’t come crying to me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Save the Date: January 15 in Tecopa!

Bill and I invite you to join us this winter for our first-ever joint exhibit of photos and poetry. This will be a FUN adventure—we hope you can be at the opening! Details below:

When: The opening is on Saturday, January 15, 2011, from 2 to 5 pm. Bill and I will be arriving the day before to hang the show. The exhibit runs through February 24.

Where: The exhibit will be at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort in Tecopa, California. Tecopa is southeast of Death Valley National Park. It’s a tiny hamlet with no stores and one restaurant (really good food, located at the resort!) The resort has a handful of motel rooms, RV hook-ups and cabins. The hot springs are right next to the motel rooms and open 24/7. Mention that you’re with us and get a $10 discount on your motel room (Rooms are normally $85/night, so $75 with discount—cabins are $55/night, RV hook-ups $25/night). For more information, including photos of the newly renovated rooms, and to make reservations, click here

You can see more photos of the resort--the hot springs, the restaurant, and more--on this previous blog post

There are also accommodations about a half hour away at China Ranch Date Farm They have a bed and breakfast, pictured above. You might want 4WD for this option, as the road in is steep and tough going, especially if it's been raining.

Click here for things to do in the area. The main thing we plan to do is party with our friends who show up--we hope that means you!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Arch Rock

We recently spent a morning at Arch Rock and Belle campgrounds in the national park. The campgrounds were closed, so no one was around--utter peace and quiet. We parked at the road and walked back to the boulders. Above is Arch Rock itself.

There are some impressive rock formations all through the area.

According to the posted sign, the line of rocks embedded in the boulder above is called a dike. It was formed by molten rock pushing into existing joint fractures. Often you can follow the lines as they wind through the landscape.

A few weeks ago, lightning started a fire at Keys View which burned over 100 acres. We drove up there and saw the burn area, which extended almost to the road.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Meditation Garden

Our neighbor, Ray Yeager, is one of the driving forces behind Sky's the Limit, an observatory and nature center being developed in 29 Palms. A couple of weeks ago we drove out to the site to view the just-completed Meditation Garden, designed by Ray. That big boulder on the left came from the property of our neighbor across the street!

Here are Ray and his wife Shirley, standing in front of the garden. It's a Zen kind of garden where you sit on benches alongside and contemplate it. The garden backs directly up to the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park--see the boundary marker at right. There will be a grand opening event for the garden towards the end of September.

Sky's the Limit also has an orrery under construction. It's a model of the solar system (on a scale of 20 billion to one!) that shows the relative positions and motions of the planets. Those concrete disks on the ground are planet paths. The black buckets represent the planets themselves (the biggest bucket is the sun). When the orrery is completed, the marker for each planet will be repositioned once or twice a week. Not only that, this orrery is landscaped with ups and downs to show the inclination (tilt) of each planet's orbit.